- Sep 5, 2021
- New York
I struggle with the same exact thing. Since I was about 8 years old I’ve had panic attacks almost every night and didn’t receive help when I was a kid because my mom didn’t know what was happening. So I had to suffer through all of them. It eventually stopped for a few years and I became depressed and consumed by other things in my life. I ended up starting Zoloft when I was about 17, I’m 23 now. Still on Zoloft, and the last few months I’ve fell off. My grandfather passed away and I think it may have triggered me to have these panic attacks again and be consumed by the thought of not existing one day. I also was not close to him, we didn’t speak for years and it got me thinking, how am I ever going to cope with people passing who I AM close with? A lot of milestones have also happened. I graduated college, my brother had a baby, my grandmother who I’m so close with just turned 80, my dog who’s my best friend turned 10. A lot has been happening I guess that has brought it all back. I started going to a new psychiatrist. We increased my Zoloft from 75mg to 100mg. I was prescribed propranolol to take daily when I feel anxious because she doesn’t want me taking Xanax (that’s what I would originally take if I had a panic attack but I didn’t want to take it often because I was nervous I would become addicted). The propranolol is only 10mg I guess to see how I tolerate it. It works for my regular anxiety but only for about 30 mins to and hour. I was also prescribed sleep medication because Iusually only get the panic attacks at night before sleeping and they cause me to stay awake until the sun rises because I’m so anxious. But the sleep medication also isn’t strong enough which means we will probably increase the dose. Im really hoping I can get this sorted out. This phobia is absolutely exhausting and I can’t think of anything else because of it. I thought I was ok because I haven’t had a horrible panic attack over it for a while but now it seems like every night I have to distract myself so that I don’t have one. I’m having about 2per week now. I really hope the zoloft increase kicks in soon. She said 4-6 weeksdifference and it has only been two weeks. I just found this forum though and it has helped a lot seeing other people understand what I’m going through and that I’m not alone. This is a horrible phobia to have because it’s inevitable. It’s not like spiders where you can mainly avoid them. Our phobia is inevitable and that’s what’s scary and makes me wonder if I will ever be okayFor the reasons unknown to me, at just 21, I suffer from this terrible lonely battle, to feel so isolated and imprisoned by thoughts.
I do not fear death itself or the process of dying but only the thought of no longer existing after death. My fear is that it will be like sleeping without dreaming for eternity and that scares the hell out of me.
This has been the rollercoaster I have been on since I was around 14-15 years old. Hiding in the comfort of my room most of the time, finding comfort in others, trying really hard to understand how people can just accept death.
The occasional breathers when your brain has forgotten what it feels like to be afraid for a while is incredible.
Usually, people with this phobia have somewhat a core to the spike. Unfortunately for me, I do not know why. The only question that comes to my mind when I think of this is, “have I bare witnessed something which was so severe that my brain has decided to remove from my memory?”
Keeping busy and filling my mind with as many positive thoughts, helps. Trying to tune my focus on the present, concentrating my senses such as what I’m presently seeing, smelling, touching, also helps. I used to pray for the best part of an hour every night, which is insane because it’s my complete lack of faith that instils this bloody fear in me even more! I prayed repeatedly and repetitively to live for one hundred thousand million etc years.
What doesn’t help is the stigma around mental health. It’s been extremely hard for me to open up to family about the baggage I carry in my mind daily. It’s been even harder to seek help, with the fear of what people might think of me. Life throws at you many other contributing factors such as job instability, family problems, living conditions, loss of a job, family member getting sick and many other things which we just are bound to come across. When these ‘uncontrollable’ situations happen, for a person with Thanatophobia, it’s extremely distressing because you almost know that a panic attack could spark up.
Fortunately I don’t smoke, don’t abuse alcohol and don’t take any drugs aside my prescription. It’s hard to resolve such a complex condition and even harder to put it all into a synopsis for people to understand.
There are many external factors which don’t help. You can simply be watching TV and an advert for retirement/funeral plans come up or walking through the street and see a funeral convoy driving along. These are things that you just need to grow a thick skin to, if not you’ll just spend your entire existence avoiding these situations.
A person with Thanatophobia doesn’t just carry a phobia. This imprisonment which takes over your life can bring an array of other mental health issues such as depression and severe anxiety when going through a panic attack. Others who may have manifested this horrible phobia are people who have had an NDE (Near Death Experience) or someone who has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
I decided to start medication this January 2019. I was initially prescribed 50mg daily. The first 2 weeks I had horrible side effects, Nausea, gurning my teeth, excruciating headaches and loss my appetite. After approximately 2 months, it had been doing me a world of good! I was much more motivated, making goals, cleaning more often, going out and other things which seemed impossible. However, I still was having a panic attacks weekly, which is a great improvement from 2-3 a week. My GP decided to increase the dose to 100mg daily. Now I’m just waiting for my body to adjust to the increase, I have had side effects which I hadn’t had before such as insomnia and nightmares.
Hope all of you who suffer from this understand that you’re not alone, for those who had no idea, welcome to our world, for those who know someone with the phobia, help them. I will keep you all posted.
Thanks for reading,